Abstract: This commentary of Freud’s seminal essay from 1921, Mass-psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its publication, is an experiment in reading the text and assessing its problems at the intersection of several perspectives: it relies on the inclusion of the text within successive textual ‘constellations’ which involve the recognition that a political element is intrinsic to the construction of psychoanalytical concepts, and the possibility of using psychoanalysis as a framework for the analysis of contemporary enduring forms of institutional racism, which reacts on our understanding of psychoanalysis itself. What emerges is a remarkable figure of representation and elusion of the State as an agency of identification and repression organizing the psychic apparatus from without.
From a lacanian orientation, the relation between ‘treatment’, ‘coaching’ and ‘care’ is questioned in case of what one calls ‘long term care’. This question is approached from the perspective of a case study. A young man accuses himself constantly of not adapting enough to society and even of attacking society. His attempts to find a solution though, are situated both in his failure and his singular answers to this failing, as well as in his self-incrimination about his failure. Indeed, the real problem is neither the lack of adaptation nor the self-incrimination, but the feminine enjoyment that he is confronted with, over and over again. Theoretically, Lacan’s conceptualization of the symptom as a knotting element forms the framework.
This paper focuses on Freud’s interpretation of racism and xenophobia as described in his essay “A Comment on Anti-Semitism” and in his “Letter to the Editor of Time and Tide“. The psychobiographical method Jean-Louis Maisonneuve uses in his work L’extrême droite sur le divan is also critiqued. An alternative starting point for a psychoanalytic interpretation of racism and xenophobia is found in the works of Tahar Ben Jelloun and Gerard Miller, in which racist language and sexual fantasies projected onto immigrants are analysed.
Nowadays, multiculturalism is the target of a lot of criticism. One prominent critic is the Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek and this article will focus on the main points of his critique. The author examines the extent to which his arguments are valid when considered in the context of the full background of the multiculturalism debate. It will be argued that Žižek does not have a complete understanding of the vision of humanity underpinning the defence of multiculturalism. It will also be argued that Žižek’s plea for a revolutionary politics does not account for the importance of recognition.